Day one

Wednesday 8.21.19

Depart 8:25 am

Finished 4:20 pm

Saddle time 6:03.54

Distance 52.47

Stanley to Deer Creek Camp


It was 44 degrees when we woke up in Stanley, Idaho. This small but cute town has so much to offer; lodging, restaurants, nature. It seems to be a destination spot on the Salmon River. We are just a one hour drive from Sun Valley Idaho. Our route takes us north of Sun Valley.

As the sun started to rise, the majestic view of the Saw Blade mountains came alive. The air was cool and crisp.

Our hotel had been renovated recently and was very comfortable, something I was going to miss. As I lathed my face with sunblock, John lubed our bike chains and filled our water bottles with ice. I know our first night is somewhere in the wilderness.

Directionally the start was a challenge. There were many unmarked roads and Y’s in the road that didn’t match the turn by turn. Thankfully John has great direction skills and he takes his time and double-checks everything to avoid making a wrong turn. I brought the adventure cycling map and we would compare the turn by turn to it.

After our last bike on the Great Divide, I am very good at reading the elevation, and today was mostly a downhill day.

The Saw Blade mountain range was to our left most of the morning. We saw many birds including sandhill cranes, big ravens, hawks and lots of little birds. We passed through some cow gates and early on had to take off our shoes to cross a cold river. Another section of the river crossing the bridge had collapsed, yet it was still strong enough for us to use. 

By noon we had already biked about 25 miles. Mentally this is huge. Over halfway there.

After lunch, we started to climb on our first summit. The weight of our bikes was noticeable as I was in second gear really pushing. There were streams all around us in the forest as we climbed. A trick I learned on our last bike trip was to wet our arm sleeves in the cold stream. Boy does this make a huge difference in our core temperatures. As we descended down the summit we ran into another cyclist. He had come from the north shore and was headed to Stanley. He warned us about the brutal 10 miles of washboard. And he was right.

We entered an area called Deer Creek. It has been through a major fire, and every tree around us for miles was black. Small trees had not started to grow back, however, the wildflowers were tall and all in bloom.

The next city was still 35 miles away and two big climbs. We had been on the bikes for 6 hours and I could feel the burn. Even though it was only 4:20 pm, we decided to stop and camp. The campsite appeared to be saved by the forest fighters. The trees along the river were tall and thriving. We were the only people at the campground. This allowed us to take a full bath in the river. A cold plunge for the legs was in order.

At dusk, a deer walked into our campsite. She was not afraid of us. I went into the tent to just chill for a while and 4 little spotted fawns were jumping around and frolicking at the river across the way. They were so cute jumping and swinging around.

A hummingbird came immediately in to see the red on John’s watch and then came back to buzz his red biking shirt. This was a treat for us as we miss all the hummingbirds from our ranch in Steamboat.

By 6:20 pm we were both in bed. The sun was up, but I was physically done. I can hear the soft gentle sound of the river as we close our eyes.


We are having a great time in Idaho, and all our riding so far has been through wildfire burns. We rode fifty miles yesterday to a campground surrounded by old growth that had been saved. We were the only campers. Riding through areas of total burn then into areas of unburned is quite beautifully sad. We are in Warm Lake at the North Shore Lodge after a short 35 miles of lots of climbing. Tomorrow the plan is a long 62 miles to McCall. Three chances for hot springs tomorrow.